In an allegation that came out today, we learn that Randy Pitchford, the Gearbox Software CEO lost $3 million, nearly. The person behind this allegation is John Wright Martin. Hired back in 2014, Martin worked for Pitchford and his wife, Kristy, as their personal assistant. Pitchford claims to have lost nearly $3 million in a scam orchestrated by Martin.
In case you didn’t know, Gearbox Software is the company behind the famous FPS game series, Borderlands. They have also published other notable games such as Duke Nukem.
The whole scam-plan
Initially, Martin’s starting salary was $45,000 per year. Divided by 12, Martin was essentially receiving $3750 per month. The scam began when he started using their American Express business account for personal spendings.
According to Dallas News’ report, Martin bought stuff like jewelry, clothing, electronics, Amazon movie rentals, and other things. He then charged the expenses to their business account. Taking a huge leap from small items, he, later on, purchased a home worth $591,000 in a fancy Frisco neighborhood. On top of that, he also used their money for charity. He took out a sum of $10,000, donating it to The Trevor Project, a non-profit organization focusing on suicide prevention amongst the LGBT community. Martin then continues “up his game”. He reportedly forged at least seven checks worth more than $73,000.
Not his first rodeo
Apparently, the Pitchfords weren’t his only victim but they were definitely the wealthiest on his “hit-list”. A former friend, Matthew Worthen claims that he has lost close to $10,000 because of Martin. The alleged scammer had prior convictions as well on top of Pitchford’s claim. He was previously caught writing a bad check and skipping out on a bail bond for his felony conviction due to drunk driving in July 2017.
After his operation got canned, Martin agreed to repay $780,000 to the Pitchfords. However, they found out the damage he did was more than that. “We keep finding stuff. As much damage as he did, he didn’t destroy us,” Randy Pitchford tweeted. He estimated their losses close to $3 million but this only affected the family business he had with his wife. Gearbox Software, his company, on the other hand, is not affected.
How it all unravels for Martin
No one noticed Martin was skimming money off the Pitchfords until sometime after September 2016. They noticed missing funds in the payroll account for Nerdvana Frisco. This is the aforementioned family business the Pitchfords had, a restaurant and coffee shop owned by Kristy, the wife. After being confronted by Kristy, Martin assures her it was all a mixup, promising to sort it all. Following that incident, he signed a contract in March 2017 acknowledging “the wrongfulness of his actions” hence the pledge to repay the $780,000. Later on, a check he wrote worth $598,000 bounced in the same month. At this point and time, Martin was no longer working for them but was instead, pursuing his own interior design business.
Subsequently, Martin failed to defend against a lawsuit from the Pitchfords. The couple was awarded $2 million on top of legal fees earlier this year. Martin went off the radar since then only to resurfaced in mid-July. In another case of bad check worth $77,000, he managed to bail out, once again.
Dallas News reached out to Martin on Facebook and this is what he has to say: “There is much more to this story than me being charged for crimes I did not commit.” He promised an interview with them but turns out he bailed on that too. The police are on the lookout for Martin as he’s now on the run from the law. For a detailed description of his crime, here’s the report from Dallas News.